Since mountains have such an attraction to me, I just had to take a closer look of the Aconcagua mountain, the highest of the Andes range and hence the highest in the Western Hemisphere. After arriving in Mendoza, I took a regular bus to Uspallata. This may sound like an unknown village in the middle of nowhere, which it actually is, but this area was actually used for part of the shooting of Seven Years in Tibet.
After a quick lunch I decided to leave this windy village behind and headed for the mountains, walking through pure and serene natural beauty. After nearly two hours, I calculated that if I wanted to sleep somewhere close to Puente del Inca, I had to start trying to get a ride. Thanks to relatively much traffic, this proved to be no problem at all, and I continued the road towards Chile and towards higher altitudes. When I finally got down in Puente del Inca, a small settlement not very far from the border with Chile, I already knew that I had underestimated the temperatures at that altitude and in that time of year. First, I had a nice warm night in a local hotel.
The next morning I visited Puente del Inca, a natural bridge which also contains provisions for natural hot baths. Unfortunately, these are not used anymore, although you can still see how they were organized. I discovered that it was around 15 degrees below zero and all the water was solidly frozen. After breakfast I started to walk out to the border, through the mountains, and later that day I walked the first kilometres of the Aconcagua climb which was a spectacularly beautiful walk, thanks to the perfect weather. After yet another adventure, hitching back to Mendoza was no problem at all. A Chilean family were only too happy to be able to conversate with a foreigner.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Puente del Inca (Argentina). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Puente del Inca.
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